Panaji, Aug 9 (IANS): Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Monday invoked the wrath of God end the scourge of the Covid pandemic once and for all, so that tourism activity in the state may begin in a full-fledged manner.
Speaking to reporters here, Ajgaonkar also said that the decision to restart casino operations in the state depended on Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
"We are urging God to finish corona once and for all and tourism, on which Goa depends, can restart. We are in full readiness," Ajgaonkar said.
Currently, only persons who carry Covid negative certificates and have completed both rounds of vaccination are allowed in the state.
"Who does not want tourism to restart? But look at the current situation. Covid is still not over. We want to start, but what can we do? We are still reporting numbers. There is a fear. We will go as per SOP," Ajgaonkar said.
"We do not want to play with the lives of Goans. We want tourism to start because everything depends on tourism. 50 percent people depend on tourism. Shacks, hoteliers, taxi and rickshaw operators," he added.
A total of 3,160 Covid patients in the state have died since the pandemic outbreak last year. The state continues to report between 70 and 130 fresh cases every day.
When asked if the casino industry in the state would be allowed to open soon, Ajgaonkar said: "CM will decide on re-opening of casinos". At its peak, before the emergence of the pandemic, Goa recorded an annual footfall of nearly eight lakh tourists.